Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nostalgia sells: these old brands are poised for a 2011 comeback

Image: Mr. Peanut

Nostalgia will help sell to consumers who aren't happy with the present

“Will 2011 produce a new Old Spice? The incredible success of the “Old Spice Guy” ad campaign this year shows the potential of heritage brands — in this case, a 71-year-old deodorant line —to revive themselves and reconnect with younger generations.”

PHOTO - Planters Peanuts, owned by Kraft Foods, hopes to revitalize the brand with a makeover of its mascot Mr. Peanut. In animated commercials and online videos, the formerly two-dimensional peanut character is now living and talking with the voice of popular actor Robert Downey Jr.

What shaky economy? Tourists here for the Rose Bowl game are splurging

Wisconsin fan


Some Pasadena merchants estimate that sales of food and souvenirs are up 5% to 10% over a year ago.

“Andrew Schwingle high-fives other fans of the Badgers at the Rosemont Pavilion across the street from the Rose Bowl. (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / December 30, 2010)”


Friday, December 31, 2010

As It Stands wishes it’s readers a Happy New Year!

Here we are. The last day of 2010 is fading away with every hour. Some people feel the urge to make new year resolutions that are usually broken before January ends.

Not me. I gave that practice up a long time ago. It was basically a recipe for failure.

I want to thank all of my readers for stopping by here and visiting my cyber home. You’re the reason I enjoy blogging. It gives me an opportunity to communicate with you and to share ideas and opinions.

As a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, I have little desire to go out in public. Crowds bother me. Being too close to people in public makes me nervous. I’m always watching my back. This blog has given me a viable alternative to communicating. It allows me to feel safe, yet to reach out to others and share my thoughts. Having access to the web, the biggest library in the world, has helped me expand my horizons and to do research that once took a lot of footwork and one-on-one meetings. I’m very thankful for this opportunity to be in touch with the world, without feeling any stress. I hope you keep coming back…

Here’s my message to you for 2011: Take each day like it’s your last, and don’t sweat the small stuff! 


New list released: word warriors vanquish 'viral,' eradicate 'epic'

“It's official: Viral went viral, and now it's been virtually vaporized.

Michigan's Lake Superior State University features the term linked to popular online video clips in its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

The 2011 list, compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across North America throughout the year, was released Friday.”

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sand Sculptures From Australia’s Creepy Crawlies Exhibition


Creepy Crawlies, the newest theme for Sandstorm Events’ annual Sand Sculpting Australia exhibition in Frankston, will once again see the best sculptors from around the world – from the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and the UK, to Singapore, Canada and the USA. Go here to see more great sculptures.

From beetles, bugs and butterflies, to spiders, slugs and scorpions, the tiny creatures that inhabit our lives will be magnified and amplified in giant sand sculptures. Delicate dragonflies and enchanting ladybirds will mingle with bed bugs, fleas and other things that make you itch and your skin crawl!


Geraldine Doyle, inspiration for 'Rosie the Riveter,' dies at 86

“With a red and white bandana in her hair and factory worker uniform sleeves rolled up to reveal her bulging biceps, Rosie the Riveter was painted on a World War II recruitment poster in 1942.

But for four decades, the real Rosie the Riveter had no idea she was the woman who inspired it.


Read story here


Perhaps it was because Geraldine Doyle left her factory job after two weeks – or because she didn’t actually have bulging biceps – that Doyle, who died at 86 years old on Sunday in Lansing, Mich., didn’t know for so long that she was the model for what would became a symbol of women’s empowerment.”

One day, a United Press International photographer came to the steelworks factory and took a picture of Doyle leaning over machinery (right), a red and white polka-dot bandana covering her hair.

Child's play leads artist to find a whole new way of working

Blue boy At first glance these pictures look like nothing more than pixelated photographs but closer inspection reveals the images are actually created using thousands of wax crayons.Brown boy

Bored with paint and pencils, inventive artist, Christian Faur, turned to the childhood favorite for inspiration after seeing his young daughter using them.

Christian, from Granville, USA, starts each piece by scanning a photograph and breaking the image down into colored blocks.

He then places thousands of crayons into a grid - like colored pixels on a television screen - before packing the finished piece into a wooden frame. See more here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It was 1969 - The Year that the Army stopped Niagara falls

I was training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri in 1969. That’s where the Army Corps of Engineers was located. I was preparing to be a combat engineer and to go to Vietnam. My luckier comrades stayed stateside and worked on this project.

In 1969, the Army Corps of Engineers accomplished an awesome feat: They turned off Niagara Falls. They did it to clean up the area, and check for structural integrity. Here are pictures of this bizarre episode in structural engineering history.

These pictures were taken by tourists who visited the dry falls in 1969. Environmental design blog Mammoth explains the context:

“For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagara's American Falls were "de-watered", as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls' rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture. For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.”

via Mammoth  Photos from Russ Glasson's Flickr stream.


Whatever you do – don’t step on this guy’s prize front lawn!

Probation for killing after dog pees on prize lawn

Chicago-area ex-Marine will do no jail time for second-degree murder in 2009 shooting

“Charles Clements, 69, won't do any jail time for killing his neighbor Joshua Funches, 23, during an argument outside Clements' home. He could have been sentenced to as long as 20 years in prison, The Chicago Tribune reported.In May 2009, as Funches passed Clements' home while walking his fox terrier, the dog lifted its leg and relieved itself, witnesses said. The two men got into an argument.”

image source

Congressional redistricting: or how to rig an election

In a normal democracy, voters choose their representatives. In America, it is rapidly becoming the other way around

“All you need is the power to draw district lines. And that is what America provides: a process, called redistricting, which, through back-room negotiations too boring for most voters to think about, can distort the democratic system itself.”

Here are some very interesting examples of ‘Land Art’

sylvain-meyer01 sylvain-meyer05fROM fUBIZ – dAILY dOSE OF iNSPIRATION BLOG


Mélange de photographie, de nature et de style, le land-art de Sylvain Meyer s’illustre avec brio au travers de ces images. Grâce à son sens de l’observation, il passe des heures à collecter des éléments de la nature afin de créer une ambiance envoutante. Plus d’images dans la suite. sEE MORE HERE.



Here’s why your child's school bus has no seat belts…

Modern fleets aim to 'compartmentalize' pupils into a protective bubble

“Most school buses in the United States don't have seat belts or similar restraints to protect children in an accident. Federal law requires them in buses under 10,000 pounds, but that's only a small proportion of the school buses in use — picture those tiny 6- to 12-seater buses you sometimes see, which are usually fully tricked out for transporting disabled and other special-needs pupils.”


“But the standard long yellow school bus, which makes up about 80 percent of the nation's fleet, weighs in about 23,000 pounds, and its passengers sit much higher, making them safer in collisions. For those, federal education and transportation agencies leave the decision up to the states. And so far, only six require seat belts to be installed.”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is it time? E-mails, letters favor pardoning Billy the Kid

Image: Billy the Kid

Billy is one of my favorite characters from the Old West. I’ve read tons of articles, several books, and have chatted with some historians about him. I think he should get a pardon. What about you?

A website started in mid-December is the epicenter of the historical debate

“More people say they favor a pardon for Billy the Kid than oppose the idea after Gov. Bill Richardson's office set up a website and e-mail address to take comments on a possible posthumous pardon for one of New Mexico's most famous Old West outlaws.

Richardson's office received 809 e-mails and letters in the survey that ended Sunday. Some 430 argued for a pardon and 379 opposed it.

The website was created in mid-December after Albuquerque attorney Randi McGinn petitioned for a pardon, contending New Mexico Territorial Gov. Lew Wallace promised one in return for the Kid's testimony in a murder case against three men.”

Many U.S. companies are hiring ... overseas

One reason why U.S. unemployment remains as high as it is

Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring?

Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Random Illusions for your entertainment on a rainy Monday..

Life And Death Arround You

This painting (right) is work from Alex Grey, an artist who does similar trippy pictures, usually oil on wood. How many faces can you find? There are seven if I see correctly. If you see more, be sure to comment!

Imaginary Stripes Illusion



A simple illusion, black strips running bottom-left to top-right.

----------------------------------------------------------------image sources

One for the books: Man faces charges for reading wife's e-mail

I wasn’t aware that this was a felony. It looks like I better study up more on internet laws and cases like this.

What other strange internet laws are there that could land me in jail? I’ll get back with you on this sometime.

Husband used his wife's password to access her Gmail inbox

“A Michigan man who says he learned of his wife's affair by reading her e-mail on their computer faces trial Feb. 7 on felony computer misuse charges.”

New Orleans law firm challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear

Image: Environmental technician collects samples in Mississippi

'It is unethical to experiment with the health of the U.S. population or military members,' toxicologist says

“A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses “a significant danger to public health.”

It’s a high-stakes tug-of-war that will almost certainly end up in the courts, with two armies of scientists arguing over technical findings that could have real-world impact for seafood consumers and producers.”

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Inquiring columnist asks: 'What's your Top 10 list for 2010?'

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 12/26/2010 04:55:37 AM PST

Here we are, the day after Christmas, and I'm asking you to reflect upon the past year. I'd like to say it was “the best of times, and the worst of times” but Dickens beat me to it.

What a year. I won't even attempt to summarize it for you. Plenty of other writers are doing just that at this very moment. Some are on deadlines, glued to their computers, researching and writing stories about 2010.

You won't have to look too hard to find their stories:

The Top 10 Ecological Disasters of 2010; The Biggest CEO Screw-Ups for 2010; The Top 10 Paid Athletes, etc. Time Magazine has already told us who the Person of the Year is: Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of the omnipresent social-networking site Facebook.

Experts on the economy and politics will inform us what went right and what went wrong.

As I do every year, I'll ignore all those professionally gathered lists and weigh the year's worth on my own scales. I don't need someone to tell me the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the number one ecological disaster for 2010.

While we're on the subject of the BP catastrophe, I just read a report that BP claims they didn't spill as much oil as our government said. They haven't offered any hard figures to back this claim that the U.S. oil spill estimates are 20 to 50 percent too high. No surprise there. BP isn't what you'd call a “good neighbor” by any stretch of the imagination.

Pardon me, I digress. If you're like me, you judge a year by your own personal experiences and views on the issues. If you lost your spouse, house, dog, and pickup truck, 2010 really sucked. It was a year to be forgotten with professional psychiatric help.

If you won the lottery, got all A's in school, and fell in love for the first time, 2010 was a banner year. A year to remember. A memory milestone.

When it all comes down to it, we know it was just another year. They come and go, after all. It's been like that for a long time. Nothing special really. Labeling it with a date makes it easier to keep track of things and provides a reference for future historians.

I've decided not to write my own or read mainstream Top 10 lists this year. As a newspaper editor, I had to spend countless hours making lists for annual Year in Review issues. I looked at this chore as a necessary evil because all newspapers, and some magazines, do the yearly wrap-up thing.

If for some reason I hadn't done a Year in Review in those days, irate readers would have stormed my office with torches and pitchforks. My publisher would have questioned my sanity. My staff would have desperately looked for something to write about to fill all that reserved Year in Review space. It wouldn't have been pretty.

So, I compiled endless lists and readers either liked them or they didn't. I secretly felt I was cheating, using year-old news as a filler where fresh news should go. I always put my best face forward (the one where I wasn't frowning from stress) when observing newspaper traditions. Even when I didn't agree with the traditions. Sometimes that's life.

I've been thinking this year -- always a dangerous proposition -- it would be fun to do something a little different. Readers like to see what other readers think about things. Especially in small communities. Letters-to-the-editor are always a well-read part of a newspaper. You might even read something by someone you know.

So how about it? What's your Top 10 List for 2010? Was it a good year or a bad year? Did anything on this planet particularly impress you? Was this a good year for entertainment? Did you see or hear things that gave you hope for humanity? Give it a try and share your Top 10 list for 2010.

If you like, you can send your list to me via this newspaper (letters to the editor) or e-mail me. I'll gladly read it. I might even share it (with your permission) with readers of my blog. I think your letters will provide far more interesting reading than the mainstream media has to offer.

As It Stands, it's time to say Happy New Year! I won't be back until 2011.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...